SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule entered Earth's atmosphere Saturday night and landed off the east coast of Florida, completing the company's first civilian mission into space. The Inspiration4 crew - mission-funding billionaire Jared Isaacman, geophysicist Sian Proctor, physician assistant Haley Arsenault and data engineer Chris Sembroski - became the first civilian crew to spend time in Earth orbit without professionally trained astronauts.
The crew's drop zone into the Atlantic Ocean was about 50 kilometers east of NASA's Kennedy Space Center, where they launched into space on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket last Wednesday. Beginning at about 7:02 p.m. Eastern Time (03:02 a.m. Kiev the following day), Crew Dragon deployed two sets of parachutes - the initial set of two and the final set of four - to facilitate its descent toward the ocean. The landing occurred at about 7:06 p.m. ET. SpaceX rescue teams headed to the capsule in boats to retrieve the crew.
The crew's return to Earth went without incident. They survived an expected approximately seven-minute communications outage with SpaceX's mission control center in California due to the envelope of plasma that forms around the capsule during turbulent re-entry. During re-entry, the outer surface of the spacecraft heated to 1,900 degrees Celsius, but the crew was comfortable thanks to flight suits and the enhanced air conditioning system inside the capsule.